The new normal
It took a minute to explain who exactly Farrah was and assure him he only had one daughter. You could see it in his eyes when he got a certain level of respect for her when he heard how she stuck by my side through the institution as well as when she found out my secret. When they finally let her into the room, I knew she could immediately tell that my secret was out by the crestfallen look on her face. We had both had numerous conversation on how it would play out, most leading to me being kicked out and her, being the person she was, leaving with me. I hadn't been kicked out yet, but I was holding on to the hope that being the headmaster's daughter would get me a reprieve.
Farrah was frozen in place, her eyes travelling over everyone until they landed in me. Those very eyes grew in size when she noticed my tattooed sleeve. I rose up out of my seat and walked over to her, taking her hand in my own. Dropping my walls, I nudged her mind with my own, giving her permission to look in so that she understood everything that's happened so far so I could ease her worry a little. When she realized that Cree was in fact my dad, her eyes grew impossibly larger, darting to him and back at me. The adults in the room looked on with curious eyes at what was undoubtedly advanced for two girls who grew up in the institute and not performing magic. Squaring her shoulders, she squeezed my hand firmly and turned to Cree, catching him dead in the eye.
"If you kick her out I'm going too, but let me tell you this, she is the best daughter you could ever ask for. She's kind, strong, funny and she became friends with me when no one else would. She refused to leave with nana if I couldn't go too and by doing that she's given me more than I could have ever asked for. You don't look like a stupid man headmaster, so make the right decision."
Grandad was poised to say something, probably to scold her for speaking to authority in such a way, but Cree holds his hand up to stop him before he can get a word out. He stands and Farrah visibly swallows. For all her bravado less than a minute ago, I know his size and power shakes her to her core.
"Ms. Carter, I don't know why you would even think I would be kicking either of you out, but you are mistaken. Now I would admit that I didn't take the news very well, but can you blame me?"
He rounds the desk and sits to the edge of it closer to where we both stand hand in hand.
"But believe me, I am thrilled by the news." He looks directly at me now. "I lost her mother a long time ago, didn't look back because I thought it would be safer that way, but I didn't know I was also losing a child. If it would be alright with her,with both of you, I'd like the chance to get to know her, make up for lost time."
Gran is practically in tears, grandad attempting to console her, but Farrah doesn't care, she's full on having a melt down. "Of course it's ok! All she ever used to talk about was what would happen if she ever found her dad." She brings our adjoined hands up to her face and wipes snot away from her nose. Gross.
Cree, seeing the look of disgust that passes over my face, tries to stifle his laugh. "Of course, I'd also like to get to know her adoptive sister as well if she'd allow it." Farrah, gasps which turns into a squeal as she releases her grip on my hand and lunges toward him, wrapping her arm around him.
"Do you mean it? Yes a thousand times yes." When she tries to pull the snot back into her nose, it dawns on him that his shirt is probably covered in the stuff. I didn't have the same control he did though. I bust out laughing, grabbing hold of my stomach when it starts to cramp up. All his attempts to casually remove her are unsuccessful. He looks to me for help but I just keep laughing. It's gran who saves him by addressing the dreading reason we were all here to begin with.
"Jacob, what are we going to do about that monstrosity on her arm?" That was enough to pull Farrah away from him.
"There's nothing that can be done Tilly. It's been activated and it chose her, the only way to remove it is by death."
" Well, that settled it then. It stays with me. " No way was I ready to die.
My grandparents exchange worried glances and I know they're concerned about people finding out. About people putting two and two together.
"I'll only wear long sleeves if that will help. Maybe Farrah and I can come home next weekend, when I get back it'll seem like I got a tattoo while I was home."
" That's the least of our concerns right now honey. What about the wolf boy? He obviously can't be trusted or Farrah wouldn't have known there was something wrong. " Grandad had a point. Echo had told Farrah about it, or at least implied, who knows who else he's told.
"I don't know if he told anyone else, but I had seen him in the common room and asked where Gen was. He only told me you were in headmaster's office with our grandparents, I just assumed the worst." She punctuated her sentence with a shrug.
Cree gets a far off look in his eyes before they clear. "He hasn't said anything to anyone else but Farrah. He's been in his room ever since. Still a little shaken from his run in with you Tilly, if I'm being honest."
How did he know that? Can he read minds across such a distance? He must have seen the confusion set on my face cause he explains. "As a member of my pack, there's what we call a link, I can talk to any member through the link as well as they can reply."
" Cool. " Farrah voices my thoughts. "Wait, can you talk to Gen through this link? Cause that'll be awesome. "
"Sadly, no. While she may be my daughter, she's not officially a pack member. Yet." I don't miss the implication. He's letting me know that I will most definitely become a member. Problem was, I wasn't sure I wanted to be.
"Great, then it's settled. You can ensure Echo doesn't say anything to anyone and I'll cover up until I can leave for the weekend." I look at all the faces of the adults until they all agree to the plan going forth. A sudden wave of exhaustion hits me, and even though it's barely after lunch, I feel as though I could go to sleep for a few hours.
" You guys probably have some things you need to talk about, but can I go now? I really feel like I should sleep. " Right on cue a yawn breaks free.
"Of course dear." Grandad gets up and gives me a hug before passing one out to Farrah as well. Gran does the same and then I look to Cree. This is awkward. I send him a tiny wave and smile as I walk out the door behind Farrah.
As we get closer to the front entrance, I realize my delimma. My arm is completely exposed. I'm about to ask Farrah to go grab me a jacket when the door swings open and in walks Echo. He holds his hand out and passes a jacket over to me.
"Alpha asked me to bring you this." He says, his eyes travelling down the span of my arm and bringing goosebumps to the surface.
" Thanks. You know, for this and for earlier. " I say as I place my arms in the jacket. It's way too big for me because it's clearly his, but it's warm and smells like him.
"It's no problem. Are you ok?" He asks, genuine concern filling his voice. I nod but he gives me a look like he doesn't believe me.
"I am, I swear." He goes to say something else but stops and gets that far off look in his eyes just like Cree did.
"Uhh, are your grandparents still in there?"
" Yeah, why? " He keeps shooting nervous glances down the hallway.
"Cause Alpha just asked me to come into his office but.. Dammit your grandmother scares the crap outta me." I can't help but laugh and Farrah stands behind his back trying her best not to bust out as well.
"Gran's cool, don't worry about it. She was just worried about me that's all." He makes no move to leave so I give him a slight push in the direction of the office. " I promise, she'll be good. Go. " He nods and sets his shoulders, braving himself to face her once more. He hasn't gotten too far before he spins back around.
"Can I come check on you later?" The question was clearly asked in innocence, someone showing concern for their fellow classmate, so why is it that my stomach starts flipping all nervous-like? My mouth has now gone dry so I could only respond with a brief nod of my head. He smiles a breathtaking smile and my palms begin to sweat.
I wait a full minute after he's disappeared from view before I turn to leave.
"What have you gotten yourself into now Genesis?" Farrah scolds me. I have no choice but to stay silent because I don't even know myself.